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Old November 10th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #1
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The Roman Republic: the end of the Struggle of the Orders


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Originally Posted by M.E.T.H.O.D. View Post
367 BC: promulgation of the Leges Liciniae Sextiae, named after Giaius Licinius Calvus Stolo and Lucius Sextus Lateranus.
According to most scholars, The Leges Liciniae Sextiae introduced the office of Curules Aedile, as well as enabling plebeians to run for consularship.(they also probably included an agrarian reform regarding the ownership of public land or "Aeger Publicus" and norms regulating credits and debtors)
The years preceding these laws saw a period of political anarchy marked by the harsh contrast between "the intransigent" M. Furius Camillus and the plebeians demanding more political visibility

Livy's Ab Urbe Condita, VI 35:
An opportunity for innovation was presented by the enormous load of debt, which the plebs could have no hope of lightening but by placing their representatives in the highest offices. They therefore argued that they must gird themselves to think of this: with toil and effort the plebeians had already advanced so far that it was in their power, if they continued to exert themselves, to reach the highest ground, and to equal the patricians in honours as well as in worth. For the present it was resolved that Gaius Licinius and Lucius Sextius should be elected tribunes of the plebs, a magistracy in which they might open for themselves a way to the other distinctions. Once elected, they proposed only such measures as abated the influence of the patricians, while forwarding the interests of the plebs. One of these had to do with debt, providing that what had been paid as interest should be deducted from the original sum, and the remainder discharged in three annual instalments of equal size. A second set a limit on lands, prohibiting anyone from holding more than five hundred iugera. A third did away with the election of military tribunes, and prescribed that of the consuls one, at any rate, should be chosen from the plebs. These were all matters of great moment, and it would not be possible to carry them without a tremendous struggle. Now when all the things that men immoderately covet, lands, money, and promotion, were jeopardized at once, the patricians became thoroughly alarmed; and failing, after frightened conference in public and private gatherings, to devise any other remedy than that veto which they had already tried before in many struggles, provided themselves with friends amongst the colleagues of the tribunes, to oppose their measures. These men, seeing Licinius and Sextius summon the tribes to vote, came up in the midst of a body-guard of patricians, and refused to permit the bills to be recited or anything else to be done that was usual in passing a resolution of the plebs. And now the assembly had been summoned repeatedly without avail, and the rogations were as though they had been voted down, when Sextius cried out, “So be it! Since it is your pleasure that the intercession should be so powerful, we will use5 that very weapon for the protection of the plebs. Come now, senators, and proclaim an assembly for the choice of military tribunes; I warrant you shall have no joy of that word veto, which you now hear with such satisfaction from the chorus of our colleagues.” His threats were no idle ones: except for the aediles and tribunes of the plebs, there was not an election held. Licinius and Sextius were chosen again, and suffered no curule magistrates to be elected; and this dearth of magistrates continued in the City for five years, while the plebs continued to re-elect the two men tribunes, and they to prevent the election of military tribunes.


The dichotomy Patrician consul - Plebeian consul lasted from 342 BC to 172 BC, when two Plebeian consules were elected for the first time ( Marcus Popillius Laenas and Publius Aelius Ligus)
The first point of the analysis of this critical watershed of the early Republican History is the date:
thw traditional aforementioned date referred by our METHOD (367 BC) corresponds to the canonical Varronian chronology sponsored by Augustus and is simply wrong for 4 years (more exactly 3-4 years, due to the variable beginning of the official Roman year of the time (1 September for most of the IV century BC) so any given Roman years of this period actually overlaps two years of any proleptic Julian calendar (i.e. our dates BC).

Ergo, in an absolute chronology the right date is 364-363 BC.

As usual, any contribution will be highly welcomed.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by sylla1; November 10th, 2012 at 06:39 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #2
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Now, another major issue here is that we really don't entirely know what exactly was the Struggle of the Orders.

Chiefly because we don't exactly know what exactly were the orders.

The plebeian "order" was just a definition by exclusion, i.e. any Roman citizen who was not a patrician.

As such, it was an absolutely heterogeneous group in social and even economic terms, including anything from beggars to filthy rich traders.

So the real problem is the definition of patrician.

It doesn't help the extreme scarcity of sources; the first known Roman Annalists were presumably born one generation or two previous to Punic War II; their available oral tradition didn't go beyond the early III century.
At that time the Struggle of the Orders was already finishing a protracted transitional period of disappearance.
Before then, the laconic Fasti Consulari carefully recorded by the priests, a few biased and always suspicious domestic narratives from some noble families and a bunch of annoyingly repetitive exemplary legends is virtually all what is available.

A republican patrician origin was object at the very least of some family pride at least up to the Principate; so later descedents systematically tried their best to distort and embellish the stories on the own ancestry, as it was so often lamented by MT Cicero and T Livius among others.

It seems that the patriciate was closed more than once, and the last time not earlier than the end of the V century.
According to late sources the main criteria of admission was ostensibly presumed early arrival to the city (i.e. with Romulus); this would be analogous to an American political family arriving with the Mayflower.
But there were Alban, Sabine, and maybe even Etruscan patrician gentes (clans); 19 of these gentes (including at least two with well attested prestigious Plebeian branches) are identifiable as surviving by the middle Republic.

The relationship of the ancient Monarchy (itself almost entirely legendary) and the Patricians is not clear, not even if all or any of the diverse royal families were considered patrician themselves.
The anti-Tarquinian revolution of either 507/506 or 506/505 BC (but remember, definitively not the Varronian 509 BC) seems certainly like a patrician revolt, but it is not clear if the Plebeians were excluded or even opposed.

Even more relevant is the evident artifact from either later Republican Annalists (contemporary of the Gracchi movement and the Civil Wars) and the imperial historians; both groups tended more often than not to infiltrate their own social perceptions and prejudices in their narratives.

Last edited by sylla1; November 10th, 2012 at 07:24 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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Interesting, especially for a Rome fanatic like myself. I'll have to look into this.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Now, another major issue here is that we really don't entirely know what exactly was the Struggle of the Orders.C
I know that major clashes between the two "classes"(if we exclude the occupation of the Aventine Hill of 456BC) began shortly after the"Sack of Rome" at the hands of Brennus, when a great numbers of plebeians was forced to fall into debt in order to rebuild their houses, causing a wave of new slaves(slavery was the fate for unfulfilling debtors).
Of course the plebs reacted peremtorily, demanding new laws and more guarantees.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 02:55 PM   #5

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Just helping to give an overall view from the perspective of some laws and historical changes;

753 BC.- - - - - -Legendary Foundation of Rome
578 BC.- - - - - -Servius Tullius reign starts in 578 until his death in 535. Timocratic reforms.
509 BC.- - - - - -End of the monarchy under , Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. Instauration of the Republic.
494 BC.- - - - - -First plebeian secession. Creation of the plebs tribunate and the aediles plebis as concessions.
451 BC.- - - - - -Institution of the Decemviri (10 patricians), "recopilation" of the Lex Duodecim Tabularum. Magistratures suspended.
450 BC.- - - - - -Second decenvirate for "deficiencies" of the first one (popular "insatisfaction" against the first decenvirate). Three of the 10 members are plebeians. Suspension of the magistratures.
449 BC.- - - - - -Publication of the Lex Duodecim Tabularum under the threat of a second plebeian secession.
449 BC.- - - - - -Lex Valeria Horatia; inviolability of the tribune (plebeian).
443 BC.- - - - - -Creation of the censorship
422 BC.- - - - - -Plebeians can become a quaestor
400 BC.- - - - - -Fourth century, first plebeian senators.
387 BC.- - - - - -Sack of Rome by the gauls, destruction of the XII T. D
367 BC.- - - - - -Lex Licinia Sextia; one consul has to be plebeian. Aediles curules. Requested to the senate by Camillius.
367 BC.- - - - - -Lex Aemilia de potestate censoria; census reglamentation.
339 BC.- - - - - -Lex Publilia Philonis; censorship accessible for plebeians. Publibius Philo first plebeian dictator.
337 BC.- - - - - -Plebeians can be pretors
318 BC.- - - - - -Lex Ovinia. Censors chose who can be senators from the ex magistrates. Once an atribution of the consuls
286 BC.- - - - - -Plebiscitums have now the same enforcement as comitial laws.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #6

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As for the end of the struggle between the classes, I reccommend the books of Römische Rechtsgeschichte Eine Einführung by Wolfgang Kunkel or Introducción Histórica al Derecho Romano by Juan Churruca.

In both books the authors write that although there was an ongoing conflict between the patricians and the plebeians, no real ethnic difference could be drawn between these two classes at the end of the Republic.

Thus, after the plebeians fought for political "equality" against the patricians, things became more calm and the antagonism between the two classes diminshed constantly to the point shown by the aforementioned authors that no ethnic difference could really be proved.

I think that the moment in which plebeains gained full "citizenship" (full rights according to the ius) in terms of political power with its almost inherent social changes, the conflict between them lost its raison d'être. I would mention the year of 286 as the final turning point in this antagonism.

EDIT:
In my arrogant opinion, I think we can have an objective source about the development of the Conflict of Orders if we see the laws that were created in this period. Laws usually reflect the day to day necessities and problems of any society. (Except the British law that prohibits committing suicide inside the Parliament lol)

Last edited by Tlacaelel; November 11th, 2012 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Avoiding third consecutive post
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #7

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According to Livius patricians were descendants of first senators:

"He created a hundred senators; either because that number was adequate, or because there were only a hundred heads of houses who could be created. In any case they were called the "Patres" in virtue of their rank, and their descendants were called "Patricians." "

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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
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According to Livius patricians were descendants of first senators:

"He created a hundred senators; either because that number was adequate, or because there were only a hundred heads of houses who could be created. In any case they were called the "Patres" in virtue of their rank, and their descendants were called "Patricians." "
"He" was reportedly Romulus.

Titus Livius Patavinus wrote his opera magna by the end of Augustus' reign and was a far better and rigorous historian as he is often acknowledged; as already mentioned, he was well aware of the limitations of his available sources on such a remote a legendary time.

The historiographical problems are myriad here; there are serious inherent contradictions (e.g. the significant number of plebeian surnames recorded within the consular lists for the period previous to the Licinian-Sextian Laws); there are plenty obvious anachronisms from later historians, and so on.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:00 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
"He" was reportedly Romulus.

Titus Livius Patavinus wrote his opera magna by the end of Augustus' reign and was a far better and rigorous historian as he is often acknowledged; as already mentioned, he was well aware of the limitations of his available sources on such a remote a legendary time.

The historiographical problems are myriad here; there are serious inherent contradictions (e.g. the significant number of plebeian surnames recorded within the consular lists for the period previous to the Licinian-Sextian Laws); there are plenty obvious anachronisms from later historians, and so on.
However he was also using older sources and works of older Roman historians which didnt survive till today.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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However he was also using older sources and works of older Roman historians which didnt survive till today.
If you may be aware of any recent quellenforschung that may back such categorical assertion, please share it with us,

Conversely, if you may not be aware of the centuries-long academic study on the sources of Livius' work, this would be a good chance to review it.

Even in Wikipedia you might find some useful stuff on this topic.
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